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25 Amazing Places in Eastern Europe You Have To Visit

25 Amazing Places in Eastern Europe You Have To Visit

A growing number of exotic destination seeking travelers are stealing away to Eastern Europe. Packed with all of the Allure of the UK, France or Italy Eastern Europe arguably offers cities rich in culture and medieval architecture with just as much grandeur as Western European destinations. Tourism is definitely starting to build in this corner of the world. Here are 25 amazing places you should visit in Eastern Europe.

1. Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest Eastern Europe
    Photo via Flickr

    Bucharest, the capital of Romania is a dynamic modern city with a wildly sensational history. Nicknamed “little Paris” in the early 1900’s Bucharest really plays the part with hip cafes, impressive tree lined boulevards and dramatic modern and historic architecture. Home to many attractions, the most remarkable landmark in this vibrant city is the monstrous Parliament Palace. Being equally enormous and ostentatious, it is a mind-blowing architectural feat trumped only in size by the Pentagon.

    Where there are many examples of Bucharest’s cultural and architectural splendor the highlights include the Romanian Athenaeum, an elaborately domed circular building that is the cities main concert hall, Bucharest University and the National History Museum.

    2. Sibiu, Romania

    Sibiu Eastern Europe
      Photo via Flickr

      Sibiu is a city in Transylvania, Romania that has a cultural magic all its own. It will have you instantly spellbound with its striking medieval charm, breathtaking views of surrounding landscapes and delicious food. It’s historical center was built into two very pedestrian levels filled with most of Sibiu’s historical sites, colorful houses and cobble stone streets.

      An artsy yet traditional vibe exists in the city that appealingly permeates the litany of cafes, festivals and exhibitions that thrive there. Some great things to experience in Sibiu are the Brukenthal Museum, andthe Crama Sibiu Vechi restaurant, a great place to enjoy authentic Romanian fare and the view of the historical center from the top of the Council Tower.

      3. Bratislava, Slovakia

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        Photo via Flickr

        The truly charming city of Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. Its tiny old town is packed with medieval grandeur, all over looked by the cities majestic hilltop Castle. The narrow streets are lined with restaurants and bars beckoning for you to eat, drink and appreciate the culture.

        Be sure to check out the Bratislava Castle and the Slavin Memorial for the best city views. Visit at Christmas and check out the traditional Market on the main square in the center of the city. It offers genuine local holiday specialties including delicious mulled wine that shouldn’t be missed.

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        4. Nida, Lithuania

        Nida Eastern Europe
          Photo via Flickr

          Exquisite Nida is the primary settlement on Lithuania’s side of the Curonian Spit. This spit is a curved sand dune in between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by Russia and Lithuania. Nida is the tourist destination on spit. The relics of yesteryear tell a story of a bygone fishing village. Colorful wooden cottages and bright boats in the harbor add to natural beauty that dominates here.

          White sand beaches are a short hike through pine forest from Nida. Parnidis Dune, the massive and most impressive dune is just South of the village. It has steps up to its lofty summit where you can enjoy sweeping views of pristine, rippling dunes. Eat at Nidos Seklycia and take a tour to explore Curonian National Park. Both of these experiences will show you everything that draws visitors to this precious place.

          5. Skopje, Macedonia

          Skopje Eastern Europe
            Photo via Flickr

            Skopje is amid Europe’s most diverse and compelling capital cities. It is an eclectic blend of Christian and Islamic cultures. This blend has given birth to a spirited and colorful society. A social vibe pervades the city, locals play chess in the parks and the city comes alive at night as people flock to cafes and bars to enjoy music and conversation. Visit the Carsija neibourhood to enjoy Skopje’s best historic structures and museums. Complete with a Triumphal Arch, the Plostad Makedonija Square is dedicated to national heroes.

            6. Dubrovnik, Croatia

            Dubrovnik Eastern Europe
              Photo via Flickr

              Dubrovnik, nicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic, is the shining star of Croatia. With its awe inspiring old town highlighted by the sparkle of the sea, Dubrovnik is arguably one of the most beautiful towns in all of Eastern Europe. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, it is loaded with spectacular architecture, boasting brilliant churches, museums and sculptures. No visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk along the city wall. The view over the city and the Adriatic is breath taking from this vantage point. For a more sweeping view take a cable car from town to the top of nearby Mt, Srd.

              7. Split, Croatia

              Split Eastern Europe
                Photo via Flickr

                Split is the second largest city in Croatia. It lies on the Eastern shores of the Adriatic centering on Diocletian’s Palace, an impressive Roman monument that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Coastal mountains serve as Splits backdrop adding drama to the cities gorgeous cityscape. The palace is the heart of the city, It is a lively maze of streets filled with people, restaurants, bars and shops. A walking tour of the palace is the best way to see all of the highlights. Split has a flourishing beach scene in the summer. Visit the popular Bacvice Beach to enjoy the sea and games galore.

                8. Mljet Island, Croatia

                Mljet Island Eastern Europe
                  Photo via Flickr

                  Considered one of the most beautiful Croatian Islands, Mljet is by far the greenest. The island, covered mostly in dense Mediterranean forest, sprinkled with vineyards, farms and tiny villages is the epitome of tranquility. The north half is Mljet National Park. With its pristine salt-water lakes and staggering density of vegetation, it is truly an unspoiled oasis. Visit Polace to check out the impressive Roman Palace that still remains dating from the first to the fifth century. Eat by the sea at Konoba Ankora, the best restaurants in Polace.

                  9. Orheiul Vechi, Moldova

                  Moldova Eastern Europe
                    Photo via Flickr

                    Moldova’s most extraordinary and scenic vista is the Oreil Vechi Monastery. It is a cave monastery sculpted into an imposing limestone cliff making it arguably Moldova’s most haunting place. Supporting attractions include an ethnographic museum in nearby Butuncei, newly opened caves just across the valley and chilling views from the monasteries headquarters.

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                    10. Belgrade, Serbia

                    Kalemegdan Belgrade Eastern Europe
                      Photo via Flickr

                      Belgrade is the red hot, happening capital of Serbia. Its passionate resurgence toward a better future has resulted in a chaotic mix of nouveau masterpieces and old world relics.The Kalemegden Citadel is an excellent example of this. The formidable and impressive citadel has a bloody history that is still recognizable today despite the cheerful cafes and funfairs that inhabit it. To experience more of Belgrade’s intrigue take an underground tour and explore more of the cities tumultuous past.

                      11. Ljubljana, Slovenia

                      Ljublijana Eastern Europe
                        Photo via Flickr

                        The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is a culturally rich city filled with some of the best museums, restaurants and hotels in the country. The centerpiece of this arguably beautiful city is Presernov Trg, a lovely square that is the city’s favorite place to meet. Car traffic is restricted in this area making the banks of the Ljubljana River, which runs right through the center, free for a stroll or a bike ride. Cafes set up terraces along the river creating an endless street party kind of vibe. To appreciate the baroque beauty of the city visit the Ljubljana Castle and the National and University Library. Both are examples of stunning architecture.

                        12. Warsaw, Poland

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                          Photo via Flickr

                          Warsaw is a city of complex character and gritty appeal. The capital was obliterated in WWII and has fought tirelessly to rebuild and replace what was lost ever since. Today the city hums with electric energy and fierce optimism. That remarkable tenacity extends to the city’s edgy art openings and booming club and music industries.

                          To experience some of the past in Warsaw tour the Old Town, filled with the loveliest historical buildings in the city or visit the epic Warsaw Rising Museum. For a taste of the present check out Warszawa Powisle Station Bar. Described as a kiosk of culture this hip spot is a cultural institution featuring an eclectic variety of food, drink and great music among other things.

                          13. Krakow, Poland

                          Krakow Eastern Europe
                            Photo via Flickr

                            Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Legend says it was founded on a conquest of a dragon. A former Royal capital, Krakow is steeped in a long and dramatic history. The Historic Center of Krakow is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boasting Europe’s largest market square, the Old Town is comprised of historic homes, palaces and spectacular churches. A walking tour of this area is a great way to see and learn about the area. The best of Krakow includes Wawel Royal Castle and the stone Adalbert Church. The new Schindler’s Museum tells an emotional story about the Nazi occupation in Krakow. It is located in the former factory of Oscar Schindler and is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

                            14. Moscow, Russia

                            Red Square Eastern Europe
                              Photo via Flickr

                              The city of Moscow, the center of Soviet mystique, is a stunning representation of Russia of yesterday and Russia of today. A truly inspiring city, Moscow is home to important Museum of Russian art and some of the best performing arts in the world. To appreciate the best of Moscow you must visit the Kremlin and Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral is the true icon of Russia and the Tretyakov Museum holds the world’s most important collection of Russian art. The world renowned Gorky Park and Bolshoi Theater are two more reasons to visit the most majestic city in Eastern Europe.

                              15. Riga, Latvia

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                                Photo via Flickr

                                Riga, the capital of Latvia is the cosmopolitan cornerstone of the Baltic. It has the biggest and most magnificent showing of Art Nouveau architecture in all of Europe. The Old Town is like something straight out of a fairy tale complete with gingerbread trim houses and nightmarish gargoyles. Highlights in Riga are the very old and equally huge Central Market, The Riga Art Nouveau Center to explain the imagination that lies beyond the stunning facades, and the imposing Riga Castle.

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                                16. Sofia, Bulgaria

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                                  Sophia is the capital of Bulgaria. Distinguished by its special combination of European and Communist style architecture Sophia is home to many ornate Orthodox churches and Soviet looking stone civic buildings. The city boasts vast manicured parks and with such closes proximity to mighty Mt. Vitosh for skiing or a hike, it is easy to enjoy a break from the busy city streets. Some of the best things to see and experience in Sophia are The Nevski Church, the most beautiful park in Sophia, Park Borisova Gradina and Manastirska Manernitsa restaurant to sample delicious Bulgarian cuisine

                                  17. Tallinn, Estonia

                                  Tallinn Eastern Europe
                                    Photo via Flickr

                                    Tallinn’s two-tiered historic center is one of Europe’s most bewitching walled cities. Right out of a fairy tale with its cobbled streets and medieval architecture historic Tallinn is astonishingly well preserved. Visit the oldest Gothic town hall in North Eastern Europe, and Tallinn’s chief landmark, the Oleviste Church. The best view of Old Town is from this church’s observation deck. Check out the Gloria Wine Cellar to add to the fairy tale allure. With its flickering candles and subterranean nooks and crannies this place is way more than a wine store.

                                    18. Vilnius, Lithuania

                                    Vilnius Eastern Europe
                                      Photo via Flickr

                                      Vilnius is the beguiling Baroque beauty of Lithuania. A chaotic mix of Baroque and Gothic architecture, Vilnius is both strange and stunning at the same time. The Gate of Dawn, the cities resounding landmark is a testament to the city forging a new identity. In Vilnius, the past and present combine to offer you worldly cuisine, lively nightlife and warmth so welcoming it will captivate you. Take a walking tour of historic Vilnius to see all of the highlights. Vilnius, steeped in a tumultuous history, has endured much tragedy; visit the Museum of Genocide to appreciate the marvel that Vilnius is today.

                                      19. Kotor, Montenegro

                                      Kotor Eastern Europe
                                        Photo via Flickr

                                        Kotor Bay boasts the deepest bay depths (bordering on fjord proportions) in the Mediterranean Sea. The surrounding landscape includes staggeringly steep mountains that plunge right to the water’s edge. The scene is truly spectacular. Adventure and intrigue pervade old Kotor. The old city is a maze built for protection that is so effective, even locals get lost navigating the narrow streets. Take a city tour to get your bearings and see all of the beauty that is Kotor. Highlights include St.Tryphones Cathedral and Konoba Catovic Mlini restaurant.

                                        20. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina

                                        Sarajevo Eastern Europe
                                          Photo via Flickr

                                          Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Sarajevo has transformed from the ruin in the 1990 conflicts to become one of Eastern Europe’s sparkling jewels. Rich in cultural and religious diversity both influences bolster Sarajevo’s appeal. To appreciate Sarajevo’s culture visit Biban and enjoy epic city views and delicious local specialties. Not to be missed, The Tunnel Museum offers a look back on the hope and horrors that the hand dug tunnel inspired during the conflict

                                          21. Prague, Czech Republic

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                                            Prague is a vast labyrinth of cobble stone streets, historic architecture and secret courtyards that ignites the wanderlust in everyone who visits this magical city. The city’s skyline is spectacular, boasting almost a thousand spires, domes and towers. With magnificent parks and gardens, a cosmopolitan café culture and excellent theaters and museums there is about as many reasons to make Prague your next vacation destination. Some of the best places to visit in Prague are The Prague Castle, Veletrzni Palac Museum and the Letna Beer Garden. With so much to see and do in this great city taking a tour will help you hit all of the highlights.

                                            22. Olomouc, Czech Republic

                                            Olomouc Eastern Europe
                                              Photo via Flickr

                                              Olomouc is the undiscovered gem of the Czech Republic. Legend has it the city was founded by Julius Cesar and the Roman influence is prolific in its culture and historic architecture. Olomouc quietly combines rich historical beauty with youthful verve to create an exciting destination that rivals Prague for allure but undoubtedly wins top prize for best value. Some of the best things to see and experience in Olomouc are Horni Namesti, Olomouc’s main square boasts two of the cities six ornate Baroque fountains, Premysl Palace and the Archdiocesan Museum.

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                                              23. Berat, Albania

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                                                Berat, “The city of a thousand windows”, is one of Albania’s most beautiful highlights. Ottoman houses stack like stairs up Mt. Tomorri to the castle. The unique mountain town exudes a friendly, laid-back vibe. Nowhere is this more evident than the town’s sunset stroll. Every night, before sunset, hundreds of locals take to the main street to walk and talk or grab a drink at a cafe. Visit the Kalasa neighborhood, beyond the castle walls. The views from the castle are the best. To learn more about art and culture in the area visit Onufri Museum or take an expert guided tour of the city.

                                                24. Ionian Coast, Albania

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                                                  Along the Ionian Coast, rugged mountains plunge into the clear blue sea. This stretch of coast in Albania is truly spectacular. Many historic sites exist in towns and cities in this area. The ancient ruins of Butrint and the Castle of Lekuresit are two of the highlights in this area. Visit Vlora to enjoy historic buildings and museums. If you long for the beach hold out for smaller villages further south. Outdoor adventures abound in this breath taking setting. Take a sea kayaking tour to appreciate the grandeur of this coastline.

                                                  25. Budapest, Hungary

                                                  Budapest Eastern Europe
                                                    Photo via Flickr

                                                    Beautiful Budapest. Divided by the long, meandering Danube River it is an alluring tale of two distinctly different cities. Buda on the west bank is hills and historical sites. Pest on the East bank is flat plains pulsating with modern cafes and clubs.The list of things to see in Budapest is long. Highlights are The Great Synagogue, Memento Park and The Royal Palace. Take a night river cruise to appreciate the impressive Parliament Building and the Szechenyi Chain Bridge. Both are breathtaking lit at night.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Miroslav Petrasco via hdrshooter.com

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                                                    Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                                                    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                                    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                                    In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                                                    Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                                                    Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                                                    Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                                                    Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                                                    The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                                                    There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                                                    How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                                                    According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                                                    Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                                                    Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                                                    The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                                                    Listen carefully:

                                                    We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                                                    The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                                                    Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                                                    8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                                                    There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                                                    Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                                                    1. Pray Daily

                                                    You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                                                    When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                                                    Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                                                    Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                                                    2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                                                    A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                                                    By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                                                    Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                                                    If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                                                    This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                                                    How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                                                    3. Smile Often

                                                    Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                                                    Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                                                    Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                                                    The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                                                    4. Organize Your Working Desk

                                                    A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                                                    When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                                                    Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                                                    Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                                                    5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                                                    I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                                                    Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                                                    What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                                                    6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                                                    God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                                                    I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                                                    I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                                                    7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                                                    You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                                                    How do you do that? This is my formula:

                                                    First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                                                    If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                                                    If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                                                    If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                                                    Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                                                    8. Go Exercise

                                                    Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                                                    The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                                                    You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                                                    12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                                                    It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                                                    Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                                                    More Resources About Mindfulness

                                                    Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                                                    Reference

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